Milton Keynes is best known to the people of Aylesbury Vale and surrounding areas such as Leighton Buzzard and Bedfordshire for its massive retail and leisure offering.
But the neighbouring town is making unwelcome headlines for a shocking rise in knife crime and murder after its fourth fatal stabbing in just 13 weeks.
MK continues to push for city status but for now it remains a Buckinghamshire town. However it is starting to post violent knife crime figures more akin to a city.
As people from the likes of Aylesbury, Buckingham, Leighton Buzzard, Bedford and further afield enjoy the wide and diverse range of shopping, restaurants, bars and leisure facilities on offer in MK, they do so perhaps not fully appreciating the dark underbelly of knife crime and gang culture that is taking hold of this town built on a grid.
News of a fourth fatal stabbing in three months may surprise many outside of MK. But the sorry truth is, within the town these incidents and headlines have become all too common.
People in MK want to know exactly what is happening in in their town to cause such a tragic surge in murders. And they are demanding answers as to what the government and police plan to do about it.
MK North MP Ben Everitt has already summed up residents’ views when he posted a message on Twitter earlier this morning saying: “Enough is enough”.
The MP added: “I'm pushing the Home Office and Thames Valley Police for a much tougher response…If you carry a knife in Milton Keynes you should expect to be locked up.”
Meanwhile, members of the public are calling for immediate action from police and the government – and also parents all over MK.
"It’s easy to blame police, but at the end of the day they do not have enough officers to patrol our streets day and night. This is due to government under funding in the past,” said one reader.
"But parents also have a responsibility here. They cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that their youngsters are carrying knives, out on the streets at all hours and possibly joining gangs in Milton Keynes.”
The latest tragedy happened late on Monday night, when police were called to The Hide in Netherfield and found a 21-year-old man outside with stab wounds.
Sadly he died in hospital yesterday morning and a murder investigation has been launched.
A 24-hour Section 60 stop and search order was put in place over a large chunk of MK. There have been numerous Section 60 orders made this year across Milton Keynes.
Many people have called for MK to now be made the subject of a permanent Section 60, which gives police power to stop and search anyone they wish.
However, the law dictates that such orders can only be put in place for 24 hours at a time, although they can be renewed. But they require a huge amount of police resources, which is not always possible.
Over recent weeks, the number of police officers actually working in MK has been the subject of hot political debate, with different parties giving different answers for the number of new recruits to the force.
The debate follows pledges from MPs and the government to recruit new officers.
On Monday leading local councillors claimed to have the answer through a Freedom of Information request made to Thames Valley Police.
This data showed MK has gained just 19 extra officers over the past three years.
Meanwhile, according to research done by Bletchley Town councillor, Dr Shery Delfani, knife crime in MK has rocketed by 90% over the past two years – a higher rise than London, she claims.
Dr Delfani has also calculated that Milton Keynes saw 81 knife enabled incidents during 2020/21, causing it to have the highest overall knife related crime numbers in the whole of the Thames Valley Police force area.
Over the past two years there have been at least 11 fatal stabbings in MK – and the worrying fact is that four of these have happened in the past three months.
The tragic spate began on December 27, when 28-year-old Nagiib Maxamed from MK suffered serious stab wounds outside the Atesh venue in Central Milton Keynes.
Weeks later, on January 11, Lewis Butler died of stab wounds after an incident in Buttermere Close, Bletchley.
Then, on February 11, a 16-year-old boy, Ahmednur Nuur, was found outside MK College at Leadenhall with fatal stab wounds.
Each time an immediate murder enquiry was launched and each time police have arrested and charged suspects very promptly.
But, in the words of leading police officers, these stabbings simply cannot continue.
Last month, following the third fatal stabbing, a visibly-affected Chief Inspector Livingstone sounded a video warning across the entire borough to anyone caught with a knife in their possession in future. You can watch the video here.
He said: "No-one should lose their life as a result of knife crime. We echo the concerns of the community and recognise the sense of shock and loss which has been felt across multiple communities in Milton Keynes, not only following yesterday's incident but following other incidents of serious violence within MK previously.
The Chief Inspector warned: "If you carry a knife within Milton Keynes, we will catch up with you...We have diversionary and intervention programmes, we have rehabilitation programmes, but if you continuously choose to carry a knife it will NOT be tolerated in Milton Keynes and you WILL find yourself in custody."
Today, the next of kin of the latest victim are being cared for by specialist officers.
Police have not yet named the 21-year-old but are already busy working on the murder investigation.
A spokesman said: “We're continuing our patrols across Milton Keynes today and are carrying out a number of stop and searches.
“A section 60 order is still in place across a large part of MK and we expect to carry out more searches for weapons because of this. Please don't be worried if you're stopped, you aren't in any trouble."
Police are still seeking witnesses to what happened.
The spokesman said: “If you have any information to share with us, please call 101, quoting reference number 2376 of 28/3.
“Alternatively, you can make a report online, or contact the independent charity, Crimestoppers, 100 per cent anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or via its website.”